Major Ed Pulido, U.S. Army (retired), will be the keynote speaker as East Central University’s Veterans Upward Bound Program is set to host Veterans and Military Appreciation Day on Thursday, May 18, in ECU Foundation Hall of the Chickasaw Business and Conference Center.
The event, made possible by generous donations, is free and open to the public and military attire is welcome. Vendor tables will be available at 9 a.m. with the program set to start at 10 a.m. Lunch is provided on a first-come, first-served basis and door prizes will be drawn during lunch. The program will feature the presentation of the Bret D. Isenhower Scholarship and, from 1 p.m.-3 p.m., service providers will be doing speed sharing presentations.
More than 40 programs, organizations, businesses and schools confirmed to have a vendor table.
Major Pulido is a vision of resiliency after a traumatic life-changing event while serving his country in Iraq on Aug. 17, 2004 as he hit an Improvised Explosive Device (I.E.D.) or roadside bomb. During his time in the hospital, Pulido experienced the inner darkness of depression, PTSD and suicidal ideation that would cripple his positive spirit, along with eventually losing his leg with what happened that day.
He described this inner darkness as a “deep wounding of a soldier’s spirit.” It was at this time, he understood that a Warrior could not walk alone in this journey. In that moment, he asked for help from God, country, family and the American people.
The result of this intervention would put his life on the road to recovery. It would also be the building block for his understanding the inner wounds of war. Pulido’s firsthand account of coming out of the darkness of depression, made him an ideal candidate to educate the public on resilience.
Pulido is now senior vice president for the Folds of Honor Foundation and founder of Warriors for Freedom and a spokesperson for AROGA Health. The Folds of Honor Foundation
provides education scholarships to the children and spouses of fallen and disabled service
members while serving our nation. The Warriors for Freedom Foundation is a resource dedicated to supporting and improving mental, physical and holistic wellness for our nation’s active military veterans and their families.
Bart Culver, the son of an Army veteran, will be making a presentation as well. He started working for the United States Department of Veteran Affairs in 2007 in the customer service department. He then went on to process education benefit claims until 2012 when he became the USVDA education liaison representative for Oklahoma.
Culver works with the Oklahoma State Accrediting Agency (OK SAA) as well as schools and training establishments across the state, making sure that they are operating in compliance with federal regulations.
For more information on ECU’s Veterans and Military Appreciation Day, contact the ECU Veterans Upward Bound Office at 580-559-5459.